Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris marked her 56th birthday by joining a Zoom fundraiser with the cast of Marvel’s Avengers movies, with Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr., making a surprise appearance.
Both Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff, who recorded a birthday message that was played during the 70-minute video call, compared President Donald Trump to the the movies’ supervillain Thanos.
Which means Harris and Democratic nominee Joe Biden were on the side of the Avengers, with cast members Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Chris Evans, Paul Rudd, Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana participating Tuesday night.
Kamala Harris was joined by (clockwise from bottom) Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Saldana, Paul Rudd, Don Cheadle, Mark Ruffalo and Chris Evans for an Avengers-themed fundraiser on her birthday
On the call, both Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff compared President Donald Trump to the supervillain Thanos (pictured) who uses the Infinity Gauntlet (left hand) to kill off half the universe
Actor Robert Downey Jr., who played Iron Man, was a suprise guest during the 70-minute fundraiser for the Democratic ticket. He appeared at the end to guide the cast through some trivia as he waved around his character’s copy of the Infinity Gauntlet
Robert Downey Jr. had answers to the toughest trivia questions Tuesday night in the palm of Iron Man’s Infinity Gauntlet. Meanwhile Kamala Harris showed off her Avengers knowledge helping her team play
The cast and Kamala Harris (bottom left) divided up into two teams to play trivia – Team Rudd (top from left), which consisted of Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, the films’ directors, Paul Rudd, Robert Downey Jr. and Zoe Saldana, and Team Ruffalo (bottom from left), which included Harris, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle and Chris Evans
Black Widow actress Scarlett Johansson Zoomed in from Long Island to participate in a virtual fundraiser hosted by Democratic vice presiudential nominee Kamala Harris. Johansson sported glasses and a red and white striped Where’s Waldo-style shirt
Captain America Chris Evans joined the call wearing a vintage NASA ballcap, a flannel shirt and showed off his chest tattoos. Evans has long been politically active and talked about that with the group
‘First of all I’m a huge fan, so I’m like a kid right now being with all of you guys,’ Harris said when she got on the call.
She then talked about how there was ‘such symmetry’ between the plot of the movies and what’s happening now.
‘Because, of course, that was about the fate of the universe and he held the fate of the universe in his hand,’ she said of Thanos. ‘And right now we are looking at somebody who is denying science,’ she said of Trump, pointing to his handling of the pandemic and his refusal to take climate change seriously.
In the movies, Thanos is an environmentalist of sorts – in that he believes the universe is so overpopulated, making resources scarce, that he gathers up the infinity stones, snaps his fingers and murders half of life.
Emhoff tried to flesh out the comparison.
‘One of the last times we saw you all together Thanos tried to snap his fingers and kill half the universe, but thanks to science we solved the problem. But the threat we face now isn’t entirely different,’ Harris’ husband said. ‘A global pandemic, a climate crisis, and a president who is making it all worse.’
President Donald Trump’s War Room Twitter account had made a Trump-Thanos comparison, saying in December during impeachment that his re-election was ‘inevitable.’ In the films, things didn’t turn out that way
‘He is a villain fit for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, except the tweets more, and he’s an active superspreader,’ Emhoff added.
The Trump War Room twitterfeed had already made the Thanos-Trump connection, sharing a video of ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ in December and superimposing Trump’s face over that of the villain who says, ‘I am inevitable.’
‘House Democrats can push their sham impeachment all they want,’ the account tweeted in December, when Trump was being impeached. ‘President Trump’s re-election is inevitable.’
That’s not, exactly, how the films end.
Harris continued her comparison by pointing out how Americans, like the Avengers, are suiting up.
‘It’s those people standing in lines right now, waiting to vote in the rain. Waiting to vote in spite of state legislatures or state officials who are making it difficult for people to vote or trying to make it confusing for people to vote,’ Harris said. ‘But folks are suiting up in our country,’
‘So I guess if the Avengers can assemble from across the galaxy, then the American people can get together from wherever we are, whoever we voted for in the last election and whatever language our grandmother spoke and come together to get our country on the right track,’ she added.
Harris said she was joining the call from Howard University in Washington, D.C.’s campus and wanted to let the late Chadwick Boseman’s castmates she was thinking about him.
Boseman, who played Black Panther, died in late August of colon cancer.
‘I also just want to mention Chadwick,’ Harris told the stars. ‘You know, actually where I am now, the studio from my D.C. headquarters, if you will, is at Howard University. And that’s – Chadwick and I actually both attended Howard University and I think about him all the time, there are monuments and memorials set up on campus to him and he was a very dear friend.’
Harris also noted that she was a longtime friend of Cheadle and his partner Bridgid.
When Cheadle first got on the call he told viewers that he had lost a family members to COVID-19.
‘It’s been honestly heavy at times,’ he told his castmates. ‘There’d been a very significant loss in our family due to COVID. And that hit everybody really hard.’
Most of the fundraiser, however, was upbeat.
Harris showed off her Marvel knowledge during a trivia session near the end of the call, when Downey’s appearance was announced.
‘Oh my God, that’s so great,’ Harris Gushed when Downey popped onscreen. ‘I love you 3,000,’ she added, quoting ‘Avengers: End Game.’
The ‘Iron Man’ star wore his Tony Stark glasses and waved around a copy of his character’s Infinity Gauntlet from the movies. When he was able to answer the two most difficult trivia questions he turned the glove over to show he was given the answers.
The California senator didn’t pick one of the main Avengers when asked which superpower she’d like.
‘There are a lot of superpowers I would love to have that you all have. But I think that, you know, when we think of the princess of Wakanda, that incredible sister Shuri,’ Harris said.
Shuri, played by Guyanese-British actress Letitia Michelle Wright, is Wakanda’s tech genius.
‘I think that the ability to like come together and develop new technologies and tackle climate change,’ Harris said.
She called it the ability to ‘be able to see what can be, unburdened by what has been.’
Harris also told the cast that her favorite scene in the Avengers is when sisters Gamora and Nebula come together.
‘Because my sister is very important to me and I know the power of sisterhood and I also know sisters can fight but at the end come together as they did,’ Harris explained.
Saldana, who plays Gamora, couldn’t hold back her excitement.
‘Oh, my gosh, yes, I was just having an out of body experience, by the way, I was really fawning – thank you,’ the actress told Harris.
Paul Rudd asked Harris, ‘who is your favorite Avenger at this event?’
‘Ohhhh. Mama didn’t raise no fool,’ Harris responded. ‘You are all my favorites because without each one of your talents, would we be able to save the universe? We could not save the universe without each one of you in this special thing you bring to our universe. So that’s where we are.’
Scarlett Johansson then dropped a spoiler alert for ‘Avengers: End Game.’
‘I mean one of us does make the ultimate sacrifice,’ the Black Widow actress said.
When it was Harris’ turn to ask questions she asked Evans, Ruffalo, Cheadle and Rudd who they would play if they had to do a ‘Jumanji kind of switch-up.’
Evans said he would play the Hulk because Ruffalo gets to have fun with all the CGI the directors use.
‘Technically it’s really just days off,’ Evans joked.
Ruffalo objected to that: ‘I had to shoot the movie twice.’
Again showing off her movie knowledge Harris pointed out that at the end of the series Hulk was ‘kind of a hybrid’ with his human Bruce Banner.
Ruffalo said he’d be Johansson’s character, Black Widow.
‘I would love to be Black Widow because she’s just such a bad**s, she’s a sex symbol and she is a master actor. She is the greatest actor who has ever lived,’ Ruffalo said.
Ruffalo’s Hulk and Johansson’s Black Widow flirted at a romance in the movies, but it never took off.
Johansson interjected, ‘are you talking about the Black Widow?’
‘I’m talking about Scarlett and Black Widow at the same time,’ Ruffalo said.
Cheadle said he’d be Captain America.
‘I just want to wear Captain America’s pants, the tights,’ he said.
‘No you don’t, they’re not that comfortable,’ Evans replied.
‘Yeah, I’m not touching that,’ Harris said, laughing.
Rudd said he had planned to say Black Widow as well, but decided to choose Thor.
‘Because he hasn’t been mentioned and I would like to see what my body looks like with a CGI of Hemsworth’s physique,’ Rudd said, referencing Australian actor Chris Hemsworth.
Other notable Avengers not on the call were mostly not American and thus can’t vote in the forthcoming U.S. presidential election.
Anthony Mackie, who plays Falcon and is shooting a movie in London, tried to dial in, but suffered technical difficulties.
Before Harris joined them, the castmates revealed their voting plans.
Ruffalo, who said he was staying in the Catskills during the pandemic, pointing out that it’s the ancestral land of the Lenape and Munsee native people, said he and his wife Sunshine had sent in their absentee ballots to New York City.
‘We sat together and filled them out and put the little naked ballots in their little secrecy envelopes and followed all the directions and sent them off as soon as we got them,’ Ruffalo said. ‘So as not to be disqualified or have our votes thrown out in any way possible.’
Johansson she was taking her daughter with her to vote.
Cheadle, filming a movie in Detroit, said his partner was taking their ballots back with her to Los Angeles.
‘And she took it back with her to LA and made sure she didn’t put it in a fake mailbox,’ he noted.